2008.09.15 19:00 - The Garden, the Butterflies, and Myself

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    Threedee was the guardian that evening. He sent me the chat log and I, Pema, put it up and provided a title. From here on, it is Threedee speaking.

    There was a person new to SL who visited during this session. I forgot to get his permission for being in the log. Thus, I have renamed him "Visitor".

    Thorberg Nordlicht: anything out of the ordinary been happening?
    Adelene Dawner: Mm. You're not the only one. It's been pretty dead. Hopefully iy's picking up now - the last couple of days have been busier. Hi Three!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello Threedee
    Threedee Shepherd: Hello
    Thorberg Nordlicht: this is my first time back in several weeks
    Thorberg Nordlicht: RL comittments keep me away
    Thorberg Nordlicht: how's it going?
    Threedee Shepherd: It has been slow in terms of attendence
    Thorberg Nordlicht: maybe because it's late summer in RL; maybe everybody's on vacation
    Threedee Shepherd: hard to know
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but come to think of it, it's September; oh, well; whatever
    Threedee Shepherd: It would not surprise me if some natural attrition is happening
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i see
    Threedee Shepherd: It may be that 28 meetings per week is a bit too many
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i get the PasB emails, and there seems to still be a bit of discussion going on there, but you're right, maybe 28/week dilutes the attendance for each meeting
    Thorberg Nordlicht: you have a topic in mind for this week?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: haven't seen book on table before
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Thorberg Nordlicht: so, what's that about
    Threedee Shepherd: Adelene and I were at a lively PaB discussion at 1 PM LT about emotions, specifically anger. A question that was much discussed was whether EMOTIONS are good/bad/judgable, or whether the resulting action in response is where we have a choice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i see
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi prosper
    Prosper Telling: Hi
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello Prosper
    Adelene Dawner: 'lo Prosper :)
    Prosper Telling: Hi... Thanx for all your help.
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Thorberg Nordlicht: so, I had an interesting week
    Threedee Shepherd: yes?
    Prosper Telling: How so?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I did my first 5-day sesshin at a Zen Temple in the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco
    Thorberg Nordlicht: at this place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesshin
    Prosper Telling: Awesome.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: oops, that's wikipedia for "sesshin" just in case not everyone knew the word
    Thorberg Nordlicht: let me get the link for the place, again
    Thorberg Nordlicht: in case anyone's interested: http://www.jikoji.org/
    Thorberg Nordlicht: a very rural, rustic zen temple
    Thorberg Nordlicht: my first 5-day sesshin
    Threedee Shepherd: sounds intense
    Thorberg Nordlicht: two periods of zazen before breakfast; oryoki for all meals; three zazen between breakfast and lunch; break after lunch: two more zazen late afternoon before dinner; and finally three after dinner
    Prosper Telling: I will check it out but not while I'm logged onto SL... recipe for crashing on this pioshi.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: 10 sessions of meditation a day, and all meals oryoki style
    Prosper Telling: Soto or some other school?
    Threedee Shepherd: oryoki??
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i'm just entering URLs into the chatlog in case anyone is interested and wants to look them up later
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hold on while i add a couple more links
    Adelene Dawner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oryoki
    Threedee Shepherd: what was the overall effect for you?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: beat me to it; thanks Adelene
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well, truth is, it was a bit much for me; most i had done before was a one-day sitting at San Francisco Zen center
    Thorberg Nordlicht: jumping straight to a five-day sitting was a bit much; i kept up for four days, but on the last day, i just couldn't do it any more
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but, the mental effect was very interesting
    Threedee Shepherd: couldn't in what sense?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: as you might expect, it induced a very profound sense of calm
    Threedee Shepherd: hello Corvi
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but more than that, by the third day, i had an interesting experience sitting watching butterlies in the Zen rock garden
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi all.
    Prosper Telling: I've never done anything that long before but with th one day sits I concur that it is interesting.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: definitely had the sensation that the consciousness there wasn't just my own; it was like the garden, the butterflies, and myself were all just together in a bubble of consciousness
    Threedee Shepherd: mmm
    Thorberg Nordlicht: a new experience for me
    Thorberg Nordlicht: give new meaning to me for a lot of Zen writings and teachings
    Threedee Shepherd: Would it be the same experience--do you think--if you were the only one there?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Zen masters speak of Zazen having the effect of "putting space around things"
    Prosper Telling: A zen answer to that might be that he was :-)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: um, don't know
    Threedee Shepherd: :)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: *I* was still "the watcher", but it's like the point of view changed, so it wasn't just in me or from me; hard to verbalize
    Adelene Dawner: It would be profoundly the same. ^.^
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I've heard that with advanced Zen practice "the watcher" eventually just goes away
    Thorberg Nordlicht: that's not quite how it was, because it was still me, from my own point of view
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but it was like the consicousness there wasn't just my own, if that makes any sense
    Thorberg Nordlicht: one consciousness there, but i didn't really identify with it any more
    Prosper Telling: I've never been good at putting my experiences into words but the world does grow thin with practice.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: besides, everything just brighter and more real, somehow
    Thorberg Nordlicht: zen poets say all this much better, of course
    Prosper Telling: With me most recently it was with chanting the Shurangama Mantra at Dharma assembly--- for the first time I was able to really keep up and the most I can say is something happened.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i guess part of the point was it just seemed like "pure awareness"; i wasn't thinking any thoughts about it; everything including me was just "there" somehow and it all fit together as one piece
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, i understand: "something happened"
    Threedee Shepherd: Did that take more than the first day to happen?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i suppose a "realist" would say it's all just an illusion -- a trick of the the mind -- but what an illusion; i liked it :-)
    Prosper Telling: I go to temple about once a month and Chinese is foreign to me. Stranegly however the Chinese version of the mantra still meshes with the Sanskrit which is what I took with me that time. And it just flowed.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but, besides this intangable, unexpressable experience, 5 days of meditation just induce a profound sense of calm i've never experience before either
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes? tell us more about the mantra you use
    Prosper Telling: Most of life is intangible.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: oh, missed the question: it was along about the third day
    Threedee Shepherd: ahh
    Prosper Telling: Shurangama, it's big in the Chinese Chan schools
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I see
    Threedee Shepherd: Thor, how has the calm carried over, since?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well,good question
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i definitely have a lot more patience with the routine annoyances of everyday life
    Thorberg Nordlicht: in my 9-second-moment practice, I can much more quickly tap into that calm from the sesshin
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but, to be honest, i'll also have to admit, it seems to fade over time
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: the calm does?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: from the 9 seconds?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, as i get caught up in the routines of everyday life, the memory starts to fade, unless i keep up my daily 40-minute zazen practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: it takes effort to keep it going
    Thorberg Nordlicht: "the single-minded effort"
    Prosper Telling: Do you find it harder to maintain a routine solo?
    Threedee Shepherd: strange that it takes effort to be effortless, isn't it?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but after doing a 5-day sesshin, a single 40-minute seshion of zazen seems like just a moment now
    Prosper Telling: I think it's the cravings that pulls us in so many directions that makes being effortless a matter of effort
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, it's difficult to fit in 40-minutes of zazen in a real world daily routine
    Thorberg Nordlicht: same problem as doing some physical exercise every day
    Threedee Shepherd nods, having just returned from the gym
    Thorberg Nordlicht: just gotta keep it going; helps if it feels like a "positive addiction" :-)
    Prosper Telling: Physical exercise, how well I know the problems there :-)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: take effor to keep it going, but it you do it every day, it takes on its own momentum; applies the both meditation and daily physical exercise
    Thorberg Nordlicht: wow, too many typos
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hope that made sense
    Thorberg Nordlicht: "takes effort... but if you do it every day..."
    Prosper Telling: perfectly.
    Prosper Telling: Getting momentum behind my morning practice has been most difficult for me.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: listened to an interested Dharma talk a few weeks ago: if we all inherently have Buddha Nature, why do we practice?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: to find ways to get out of the way?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: a corrolary question is "why does meditation practice take effort?"
    Threedee Shepherd: why do we eat? ;D
    Thorberg Nordlicht: :-)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, "finding ways to get out of the way"
    Prosper Telling: attachments? generally speaking a cup of coffee or a good TV show is more satisfying in the short term than staring at a wall or chanting in a language you don't fully understand for twenty minutes.
    Prosper Telling: Yet practice is more satisfying in the longterm
    Threedee Shepherd: aren't some of the things "along" the way interesting and joyful?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: if the Four Noble Truths consist of "ways we make ourselves miserable and how to stop doing that", then Zen practice consists of ways to get out of the way of our own Buddha Nture
    Prosper Telling: well put
    Threedee Shepherd: is absence of misery, joy?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: no!
    Prosper Telling: PArdon the cliche, but a lot of the little things in life are wonderful servants but terrible masters
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ooo like anger.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nodsnods and thinks of the last session...
    Thorberg Nordlicht: fill me in; the last session?
    Threedee Shepherd: Before retiring I carried out research experiments and also taught. When doing either, I often found joy.
    Prosper Telling: Anger is one of the three worst, up there with greed/lust and stupidity.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mmm
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: we had a fantastic and passionate discussion on anger in the last session.
    Prosper Telling: Threedee, where is that joy now?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i see; do i dare ask whether you arrived at any conclusion? or would i just be opening a can of worms?
    Threedee Shepherd: The same place as yesterday, or even a few moments ago :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire grins at 3d
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mmm well I did..but I don't know if there was group consensus.
    Adelene Dawner: We were on our way to one, and I think I learned something interesting about Buddhism.
    Prosper Telling: :-) Strange how words sound sometimes.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods to Adelene...I liked that part the most, I think.
    Threedee Shepherd: Ade, what was it?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi Visitor.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello Visitor
    Visitor: Hello Everyone
    Prosper Telling: hi
    Visitor: May I sit down please??
    Threedee Shepherd: please do, we are discussing
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Please do!
    Visitor: Ok... what's th topic??
    Prosper Telling: please
    Adelene Dawner: Well, if what Three and I talked about by IM was being interpreted correctly, one of the core ideas of Buddhism may be that if things are ...unbalanced?... to the point where you're becoming angry, you've already ... done something wrong, kinda.
    Threedee Shepherd: have a look at our intro card at http://playasbeing.wik.is
    Adelene Dawner: It's not what you do after becoming angry that's relevant so much as what you do before it.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oh! wow!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: say more!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, please
    Prosper Telling: good point
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: wb Visitor.
    Visitor: sorry bout that
    Adelene Dawner: Okay, back to the specific example I used earlier, the trouble I'm having with my BF - I've been frustrated for a while, but frustration isn't anger. I didn't become angry until after I confronted him... a few days after, actually. The confrontation itself went okay - I was rather freakishly calm, actually - but how I handled his reaction to the confrontation was... well, not wu-wei, I guess is the best way to put it - and the result of *that* was that I wound up getting angry with things.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mmm.
    Visitor: How long have y'all been 2gether?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: so something was imbalanced?
    Adelene Dawner: We've known each other for 9 years but it's a pretty complicated relationship.
    Visitor: Wow Adelene, that's a long time...
    Prosper Telling: I find the people who know me best can always make me the maddest
    Visitor: Maybe yall should take a breka
    Visitor: a break
    Adelene Dawner: Yeah, hard to put into words, Corvus. The original confrontation was very flowy - very much 'just kind of happened'. It was after that that I started meddling, I guess, and that was the mistake.
    Prosper Telling: (Been with my partner 18 years this month)
    Threedee Shepherd: Yes Prosper, and who knows me better than myself:)
    Prosper Telling: ouch!
    Adelene Dawner isn't looking for advice, by the way... the situation is complicated enough already.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.
    Visitor: Been with my wife for 3 yrs and we've made it thru Katrina
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sorry to interrupt, but i need to be going now; just dropped by for a while to say hello after an absence of several weeks; good night, everyone
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: so..how did you figure out the balancing act after "meddling?"
    Adelene Dawner: 'night Thor
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Night Thorberg.
    Visitor: Night
    Threedee Shepherd: Thanks for telling us about the retreat
    Prosper Telling: goodnight
    Adelene Dawner: Hm, Corvus?
    Adelene Dawner: The situation hasn't re-balanced yet, if that's what you're asking. This has only been hapening in the last coupld weeks.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ah..I see...
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: so..the anger is the result of "meddling?"
    Corvuscorva Nightfire tries hard to put all the pieces together...
    Adelene Dawner: It might be useful if I copy the IM convo from earlier, here. This is a new thought for me and I'm not explaining it as clearly as it needs to be.
    Prosper Telling: You seem to be doing good on my end
    Visitor: But....
    ::: Anger
    ::: [14:07] Threedee Shepherd: "make yourself feel" is an oxymoron ?
    ::: [14:07] Adelene Dawner: yes and no?
    ::: [14:08] Adelene Dawner: directly making yourself feel a given emotion is pretty much impossible. But it's very possible to maneuver yourself, consciously or not, into a situation that causes you to feel a particular emotion.
    ::: [14:08] Threedee Shepherd: agreed
    ::: [14:08] Threedee Shepherd: quilty seems to be backtracking now
    ::: [14:09] Threedee Shepherd: mmhmm
    ::: [14:10] Adelene Dawner: I already saw/knew that the relationship isn't working, but instead of trusting that, I poked at the weak point to see if it's really a weak point, and it is, and drama ensued. Which I just now noticed from that angle.
    ::: [14:11] Adelene Dawner: (oops?)
    ::: [14:09] Adelene Dawner: My rounds with BF recently seem to be a manifestation of that - necessary mostly 'cause I still don't trust my judgement to just go do what I think it right without doing a reality check.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods..this is a useful way to explore..not just with the abstract concept but with an example...it's kind of you to let it be part of the conversation.
    Visitor: i'm on the ph, sorry
    Threedee Shepherd: k
    Prosper Telling: Thank you.
    Adelene Dawner chuckles. "No worries, Corvus. Call me shameless, but I see no reason to hide this kind of thing. It's life, I'm sure you all have drama and make mistakes and stuff too."
    Corvuscorva Nightfire grins. It's ;useful...but it can be hard if we insist on giving advice instead of exploring.
    Prosper Telling: Yup and we don our SL personas it's easy to forget sometimes.
    Adelene Dawner: If you want to do that, Corvus, feel free - I'm very good at ignoring advice. ^.^
    Visitor: Adelene.....
    Corvuscorva Nightfire laughs.
    Visitor: maybe.... just try 2 be positive
    Visitor: SHit.....
    Adelene Dawner: hm, Visitor?
    Visitor: Maybe... shit... i dont know your relationship
    Visitor: maybe.....
    Visitor: it just could work out
    Visitor: somehow
    Visitor: U know... easy2say.
    Visitor: I know my marriage
    Adelene Dawner: It could, yes. How should I know? I'll find out when it happens.
    Visitor: I think...
    Visitor: u and your man should just meet
    Visitor: whenever u dont have
    Visitor: your agresssion problem :)
    Visitor: You R a woman....
    Visitor: it's normal
    Visitor: U have your moods
    Visitor: Plus... every argument should make your relationship stronger
    Visitor: thats how i c it
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Adelene...what was the bit tha was meddling?
    Adelene Dawner looks amused at Visitor.
    Visitor: U know....
    Visitor: my wife and I.....
    Visitor: have made it thru a national disaster
    Visitor: I dont think there is something that could tear us apart
    Visitor: ........
    Visitor: Anymore :)
    Visitor: How old R U, Adelene?
    Adelene Dawner: Old enough, Visitor, why do you ask?
    Visitor: Aight..... nevrmind then
    Visitor: Sorry, Adelene. yeah.. it's all my fault....
    Adelene Dawner: No worries, Visitor.
    Visitor: coz It was me who came in uninvited
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oh no!
    Visitor: and now i'm trying to figure out
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: You are very much invited.
    Visitor: your situation
    Visitor: And even though i dont know u
    Threedee Shepherd: we really do welcome new members to this group
    Visitor: i'm trying to help u with my word as much as i can
    Adelene Dawner: No need, Sahmrock. This isn't that kind of group in any case.
    Visitor: I don't know how bad it's gone with your bf.....
    Visitor: and that's why the bs i've been saying
    Adelene Dawner: I offer my situations as a learning experience to others, as they arise as learning experiences to me.
    Adelene Dawner: No more, no less.
    Visitor: I dunno... maybe u just thought i was funny.
    Adelene Dawner: Yes, thank you. ^.^
    Visitor: :)
    Threedee Shepherd: not at all, funny. You were trying to offer something of yourself
    Visitor: sorry wife calling
    Threedee Shepherd: ok
    Visitor: brb
    Threedee Shepherd: come again
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: the testing of the weak point was the meddling? and anger resulted from his reaction?
    Adelene Dawner: Mmhmm.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: and that was a wrong thing to do?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire knits her brows.
    Adelene Dawner: According to what Buddhism teaches, yes.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: is it?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: to experiment..to test a hypothesis?
    Adelene Dawner: (If we interpreted it correctly. I haven't studied Buddhism.)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: me neither...
    Adelene Dawner: I'm basing this on what was said at the last meeting about what Buddhism teaches about anger.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: except...there were some alternative interpretations?
    Adelene Dawner: But it does flow nicely with the concept of not-doing.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mm
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I read the story thusly.
    Adelene Dawner: I'd have to go back and look at the log but IIRC Stim or whoever, who would know about such things, did say that the teaching is specifically that the expereince of feeling-angry is, what was it, 'poison'?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: You went fact checking...found a fact...had a reaction that said..."change something here!"
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods...there was something more that happened by the end of the meeting to that beginning idea.
    Adelene Dawner: Thing is, Corvus, I already *knew* that fact. I just didn't trust my own knowing.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: but I am terrible at summarizing it.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ah
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: hmmm.
    Adelene Dawner: And that's been a recuring theme recently, that I should trust my own knowing more and not look for reasurances.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: so..in this case...if you were able to listen to your own already knowing..you could have sidestepped the anger.
    Adelene Dawner: yup. And the related drama.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire laughs...should've waited for your next statement...
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ha! then the anger...points to "damn, I should have just trusted myself here!"
    Corvuscorva Nightfire insists on anger as a pointer..
    Adelene Dawner: Seems to, yes. Not directly, but...
    Adelene Dawner: I'm not angry about not having trusted myself. But if I had, I would've skipped the whole series of events that led to the anger.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire snorts..."perhaps I should just stop trying to push my own interpretation and let you tell me what you know.
    Adelene Dawner chuckles.
    Adelene Dawner: I do run out of steam if there's not someone else talking for me to react to. It might not look like it, but it's true.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: THat's interesting in light of what you are saying about trusting yourself...sometimes I sort of do that too.
    Threedee Shepherd: Corvi...
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: hmm?
    Threedee Shepherd: I agree that anger is a useful pointer sometimes. Now, I am wondering whether if anger could be avoided, other, perhaps more useful pointers would appear?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mmm.
    Adelene Dawner: Something else I want to bring up again, just because - According to what was said earlier, Buddhism teaches that that anger should be avoided. And that does seem possible. But I'm not sure if it's good in all cases and I don't want to specifically support that view 'till I've played with it a bit more.
    Prosper Telling: sorry, crashed and burned. good night all.
    Adelene Dawner: 'lo Prosper
    Threedee Shepherd: g'nite
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: welcome back and goodnight.
    Adelene Dawner: bye Prosper ^.^
    Visitor: night
    Visitor: sorry.... i had 2 catch up
    Threedee Shepherd: np
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: You know..maybe it's that idea of playing with anger that is most exciting to me.
    Adelene Dawner: Anger can be fun, yes. Especially since it's so often considered 'forbiden'.
    Visitor: Well... why would u consider anger as fun?? I find it sick
    Threedee Shepherd: yet, does anger sometimes block/subtitute-for legitimate power
    Visitor: But that's just me
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods. I think you are probably right about htat 3d.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: but...I have worked my way out of anger for a long time...made sure I was not in a position to experience it...
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: been very creative in problem solving.
    Visitor: Ladies, I certainly appreciate your hospitality. But i guess i'm gone. Bye
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: and I think thre is something I've missed.
    Threedee Shepherd: bye Visitor
    Corvuscorva Nightfire smiles at Visitor...bye!
    Adelene Dawner: I think Buddhism's take isn't even relevant to that... to put it pithily, if you're doing things right, the issue won't even come up.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods...

    Session end, and some other Avatars (not PaB) pass through and say hello, then leave

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